Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
NUMBER 21, PAGE 2,10b

"Suffer Me First To Bury My Father"

E. Ordway

"And another of the disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus saith unto him, Follow me; and leave the dead to bury their own dead."

Today the disciples do not say to the Lord, "let me first go bury the dead." Some of us do not even bother to wonder if we should ask for permission as this disciple did, but just take time off and even get mad if another member of the church asks where we've been.

By our actions, this is what we say: "I'll serve you Lord, but first I must put in the eight hours required by my boss on my job, and any overtime I may be allowed to put in. After all, Lord, you know if I don't work I'll lose my job. If I lose my job, my family will starve to death. But just as soon as I get the hours in the boss wants me to, I'll be at services to worship You, and go anywhere you need me. That is, if I'm not too tired out."

Another says, "I'll serve you, Lord, but first let me go finish my housework. I lack just a few things, then I'll be there. I only have to wash the dishes, get the dinner ready, make the beds, run the vacuum, clean the bathroom, pick up everyone's clothes, get all the children ready for services, then I'll sure be there. Some one might drop in for a visit this afternoon, and I do not want them to think I'm not doing my job as I should. Besides, my husband will run me off if I attempt to serve You before him. But I intend to give You what time there is between one household task and another."

Another says, "I'll serve you, Lord, but first I have to go stay with my sick mother. This is the day off we have given her nurse. You see, I have to work, and so do her other children during the week, so we decided it would be best to give the nurse Lord's Day off, then none of us would miss any time from our jobs. Just as soon as I can get one of the other children to take a Sunday, I'll sure be there. It might take a few weeks, because they're all pretty booked up for fishing trips and vacations.

Another says, "I'll serve you, Lord, but first I have a Civic Club meeting. I know it's unusual for it to be on Lord's Day. We usually hold them on Wednesday night in spite of the Baptists and Methodists and some of those minority groups hollering about its being Prayer Meeting night, but Scout Sunday is coming up soon, and the Club needs to get all our plans finalized for conducting the services in the various churches. That is one place where I agree with the other churches, and not with my brethren. After all, the Scouts are doing a good work with the youngsters of the community, just as the Club is with the parents, and I really feel we're not doing our Christian duty when we refuse to help in such work, let alone our civic duty! But Just as soon as we get our Club work done, Lord, I am/ planning on putting a lot of time in service to You. You count on that, hear?"

Another says, "I'll serve you, Lord, but first let me get a little enthusiasm. I'm so discouraged right now I feel like it would not do You, me, the congregation, or any one else a bit of good for me to attend services, do personal work, or anything else. So I plan to stay home by myself until I get in a frame of mind where I can really serve You."

Another says, "I'll serve you, Lord, but first I must get in better health. My doctor told me yesterday, that if I wasn't careful I wouldn't live over a hundred more years. I sat in his office for three hours, I bet, just waiting for him to tell me how bad off I am. I really wasn't able to do that because I had just come out of the grocery store after shopping an hour and a half. My! Aren't those check-out girls slow anymore, and the crowds are terrible, aren't they? You see, Lord, I am just too sick to sit down there in the church building, and get up and walk to class and back."

Another says, "I'll serve you, Lord, just as soon as I find a congregation who does not believe in spending all their time at worship services or in personal work. I'm too busy to spend my time at the church building, or chasing around trying to convert sinners, or bringing lagging church members back. I feel like a half hour on Sunday, at the most an hour, is plenty. So when I find a group that's not so carried away by religion they want to spend all their time at it, I'll give You the service I believe is your due."

Another says, "I'll serve you Lord, but first I must get my children raised. Young children need lots of rest, You know and do not need their little minds burdened with a lot of dull Bible facts while they're young. I thought I might take them to Worship Services today, but they were up so late last night watching "This Gun for Hire" and the mid-night horror show on T. V., they're just too tired this morning. They could have rested this afternoon, but there is an educational movie on T. V. I'm anxious for them to see. We would like to bring them Sunday night, but there's school Monday for the older ones, and the baby has learned to like T. V. I am going to teach them the Bible Stories myself as soon as they're old enough. I want them to know all about, "Adam building the Ark," Noah and Eve in the Garden of Eden," "Jesus in the Bulrushes," and how "Moses was born in Bethlehem and laid in a manger." I think that is one of the most beautiful Bible stories! I want them to grow up with a good knowledge of the Bible, like we, their parents, have. As soon as they're old enough to understand what it's all about, I intend to put lots more time in service to You. After all, a parent should set their children a good example shouldn't they?"

Another says, "I'll serve you Lord, but first I must finish up the baseball season. I am one of their star players, Lord, and besides, if I'm at the ball field I'm not at some juke joint. You know Lord, we all need more exercise than we're getting. Oh yes, I know the apostle Paul said, Godly exercise is profitable for this life and the life to come, but that was just his opinion wasn't it? My opinion is that this ball team can't get along without me, and I'm going to play. But as soon as the season is over, I expect to put a lot of time and effort in Your work. I am really going to work for Your team then. That is if the football season hasn't opened by then."

Another says, "I'll serve you Lord, just as soon as that bunch You have running things down there wake up and realize how far they are behind the times. Why, do you know Lord, they're so far behind times. they still do things, and carry on Your work, like the apostles and early church did! No one in the religious world today except that little old bunch down there at the Church of Christ, would even consider using those antiquated methods! But just as soon as they modernize the church to suit me, I am going back and really show that bunch how to serve You."

Another says, "I'll serve you, Lord, but first I must have some recreation. There is nothing the church does that entertains me. I just can't seem to have any fun at the worship services, visiting the sick, teaching anyone the Gospel, or visiting those who You expect me to visit from time to time. I can have more fun at the movies, at a fish-fry, at a political rally or even a P.TA. meeting, than I can at services. At least you hear a joke every now and then, and not all that talk about sin, heaven, and hell. But just as soon as the services get a little more interesting, and serving You gets to be a little more fun, You're really going to see me in action."

The disciples who are keeping the Lord's work from dying out completely in their area are the ones who say, "I'll serve you Lord. Just let me know what part of the work I can do and I'm your servant! I'll serve you Lord, right now, because I may not live to see another day. I'll serve you Lord, in this age, not looking for a more convenient time, because I believe You will give me the courage and fortitude it has always taken for a person to serve You. I'll serve you Lord, because my love for You revitalizes me when I get weary. Your peace which passeth all understanding sustains me when all the world is in turmoil, and that hope of Yours is my anchor for the soul in times of stress. I'll serve you Lord, because I cannot imagine a world with no opportunity to serve you. As the servant of Yours said in the long ago, "Here am I, Lord, send me." Any time, anywhere, under any circumstances, for I know Thou art with me even to the end of the world."

— Valrico, Florida